This years’ South By Southwest music conference is carrying on its tradition of showcasing the best in new music. So far, the buzz-heavy Austin, Texas throwdown (held Mar 12–Mar 17) has featured the likes of Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt and throwback boombap MC Action Bronson; Vancouver rock duo Japandroids; red hot Compton rhyme darling Kendrick Lamar; and acclaimed indie-rock vets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And there are upcoming shows by multi-platinum punk-pop outfit Green Day and music’s current blue-eyed soul golden boy Justin Timberlake.
But the one name that has everyone talking is Prince. The larger-than-life music icon has been confirmed to play at SXSW on Saturday, March 16. There are already reports that the Purple One will be bringing a 22-piece band as well as his rock-leaning female backing trio 3rd Eye Girl to the big-ticket event, which is being thrown by Samsung Galaxy. And the fact that hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest (!!!) will also perform at the Samsung show jumps out like a music fan’s ultimate cross-genre dream.
But as usual, SXSW is bigger than the music. Technology also plays a huge role in the festivities. For fans who may not be able to gain entry into the Prince headlining gig (if you are lucky enough to hold SWSW Platinum and Music badges, worth a whopping $1,595 and $795, respectively, you are in), you can roll the dice by purchasing the Samsung Galaxy—price tag $699—by downloading the Samsung Galaxy Experience app, users will be able to redeem 11 different rewards from local vendors in Austin to unlock the ultimate giveaway, 2 tickets to see Prince and A Tribe Called Quest on Saturday.
Also, Galaxy owners will be able to click TecTiles to receive free rewards including some of today’s biggest music acts, among other gifts. For those running low on battery juice, Samsung has also offered free battery swaps by tweeting #PowerOn to @SamsungMobileUS for a fully charged battery.
Samsung freebies includes a sandwich from Rotisserie & Press (1502 San Antonio); a slice of pizza with two toppings from Brick Oven Pizza (1209 Red River Street); and a scoop of frosty treats from Amy’s Ice Cream (1012 W 6th Street). Also, Galaxy owners will be able to click TecTiles to receive free rewards including some of today’s biggest music acts, among other gifts.
But this is all about Prince, right? The man has been on an interesting run as of late. The influential superstar—who is behind such funk-rock classics as Dirty Mind (1980), 1999 (1982), Purple Rain (1984), Sign O’ The Times (1987) and Diamonds and Pearls (1991) and the 2004 comeback album Musicology—has re-embraced the Internet, dropping a series of well-received tracks ranging from garage rock pop (“Screwdriver”) to acoustic soul “That Girl Thang”). And just in case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s also his show-stealing appearance at this years Grammy’s just as a presenter (the blinged out walking cane will forever be seared into our memory); his shocking live performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which ignited the Twitter universe after Prince used the Roots’ Captain Kirk’s guitar as a Frisbee; and a Carnegie Hall tribute to his indelible music featuring the likes of D’Angelo, Questlove, Elvis Costello, and Chris Rock.
And don’t worry. If the SXSW price is too steep, you can catch Prince on his next world tour kicking off on the West Coast in mid April.—Keith Murphy